In the wake of the Temple Mount crisis in Jerusalem and the shooting of two Jordanians by an Israeli Embassy security guard in Amman, King Abdullah II of Jordan arrived in Ramallah for a visit to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday afternoon.
After a formal welcoming ceremony, the two leaders met in Abbas’ office at the Mukata’a building for a private meeting. A broad meeting that included senior officials from both sides then took place following the initial private meeting.
According to Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, the meeting between the two leaders resulted in the construction of a joint Palestinian-Jordanian team that will deal with future crises and improved joint coordination after the latest Temple Mount flare-up.
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that the meeting was "an important visit that constitutes a continuation of close coordination between the two sides on all levels."
Abdullah, who last visited Ramallah in 2012, directly flew from Amman in his helicopter and left promptly after the meetings.
The future of the Palestinian issue is now at a crossroads and the possibility of reaching a peace agreement is becoming more difficult,King Abdullah said on Sunday in a meeting with senior Jordanian officials in preparation for the visit.
The official Petra news agency reported on Sunday that Abdullah told Jordanian lawmakers “there will be no breakthrough in the peace process, if there is no U.S. commitment to supporting a solution to the Palestinian issue.”
"Without the Hashemite custodianship and the steadfastness of the Jerusalemites, the holy sites would have been lost many years ago", said Abdullah. "Our success requires one stand with the Palestinian brothers, so that our cause wouldn't be weakened and our rights would be maintained," said the King.
He warned that the future of the Palestinian issue is at stake and reaching a solution is becoming even more difficult. Abdullah called for more efforts and intensive work with the U.S. administration to make the necessary progress in the coming period.
Abdullah recently announced he had allocated $1 million to support the Waqf in Jerusalem.
Both the Jordanians and the Palestinians see Monday’s meeting as an important statement, particularly because it is being held in Ramallah. It is a clear message to Israel that Jordan and the Palestinian Authority are coordinated on the issue of Jerusalem and the peace process, said a senior Palestinian official.
“In addition, the king is providing an internal message for Jordanian public opinion that has been furious since the events in Jerusalem and the incident in the apartment in Amman in which two Jordanian citizens were killed” by a security guard for the Israeli Embassy, added the Palestinian official.
The Palestinians are well aware that Abdullah is one of the few Arab leaders who are listened to by the Trump administration; and after the developments of the past few weeks, they will most likely ask the King to pass on a message to the White House on the situation.
The coordination between Abbas and Abdullah has grown stronger over the past few weeks because of the Temple Mount crisis, which led to the meeting, said Palestinian officials. Abbas has decided he will not leave the West Bank in the near future to avoid having to coordinate his leaving with Israel. As a result, Abdullah chose to visit Ramallah, the first time he has done so solely to meet with Abbas, said the officials.
Abdullah was also hurt by the way Israel reacted to the shooting incident, said the Palestinian officials. Abdullah had previously said that the way Israel deals with the security guard after he returned to Israel will directly influence the relations between the two countries. The King also harshly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying he had exploited the embassy crisis in Amman for his own political benefit.
On Friday, Israel's Ministry of Justice announced the State Prosecutor's Office has requested the opening of a preliminary police investigation into last month's shooting involving the embassy guard. The request was made on behalf of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit. The investigation will be overseen by the State Prosecutor's Office. Depending on its outcome, Jordanian authorities may be requested to transfer additional information.
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